President of a California Stake related the following story at a stake priesthood meeting: An old friend from high school days came to visit. The friend was a stake Patriarch in Idaho. He told a story of himself and a young member of his own ward.
This young man who was born with Downs' Syndrome was now in his late teens. They were neighbors, and this young man would often stop to pass the time of day whenever the patriarch was working in the yard. He posssessed all the classic symptoms of the disorder, including characteristic speech and tonal deprivation. In addition, however, he had a speech impediment, which made him hard to understand. Moving with difficulty, he was deliberate and lacked fluidity.
It came to pass that the young man asked one day, for a patriarchal blessing. Nonpulsed, the patriarch stammered, only for a moment. and replied that one must first get a recommend from the bishop. He reported to his friend, that he somehow imagined that no more would be heard on the subject.
Less than a week passed before the youth, smiling broadly, appeared at his door and held up his bishop's reccomend, announcing that he was now ready for his patriarchal blessing.
Now, thouroughly confounded, the patriarch told his young friend to speak with his parents about a time that would be convenient for them and then to call and he would make an appointment with them.
Afterward, he went into the house and prayed for inspiration. Nothing seemed to be forthcoming. At the appointed day and hour, the young man, accompanied by his parents, came to the door attired in their Sabbath best.
He ushered them into his home and visited for a few minutes, catching up on last minute family gossip, frantically hoping for divine intervention. After nearly 20 minutes of "small talk", he became aware that it was no longer possible to delay, and in the knowledge that the Holy Ghost had never let him down, he acknowledged that it was time to begin.
The young man approached him with confidence, smiled broadly, and seated himself in the specified chair. The patriarch, glancing at the smiling parents, placed his hands upon the youth's head and surrendered himself to the Spirit.
Immediately the patriarch felt the presence of the Spirit, and he began to speak in the sure knowledge of purpose. He came, in that moment, to know and to repeat that this special young man was present at the trial of Satan after the war in Heaven, and it was he who escorted Satan out of Heaven. Because if his unique experiance, God the Father knew that he would be subject to special risk at the hands of Satan during his time on earth. To protect him and to keep him safe from harm, he was given, as armor, the special shield of Downs' Syndrom as his sword and buckler against the enticements of Satan. This was a gift of the greatest magnitude, which the father could bestow in order to protect him while he gained the experiance of having a mortal body until he could return again to his Heavenly Father.
At the conclusion of the blessing, the young man stood up, walked to his parents, now standing, with the confident gate of and athlete, and spoke clearly, without any of his usual characteristic speechpatterns. He first embraced his mother and said, "thank you for not having an abortion when you could have, after you learned that I would be handicapped." Then he turned to his father, embracing him and said, "thank you for being my father and for never being embarrassed by me or treating me as different from any other child. I love you." Then he walked over to the patriarch, shook his hand, and said, "Thank you for the blessing." "For just that moment in time," the patriarch said, "the boy was as normal as his parents or I in every way. There was a different set in his countenance and an expression in his eyes that gave us, for just that moment, a glimpse of the valiant stewart of Heavenly Father's kingdom who dwelt within that youth."
The next time the boy and the patriarch met was when the patriarch was getting out of his car. The youth shouted in his loud, flat Downs' Syndrome voice, "Hi, brother," and shuffled more than walked down the street towards his home.